Parallel Structure Exercise (712)

From each pair of sentences, pick the one with organized syntactical elements.

    1.
    Some were starting over after a broken marriage, drug abuse, or in hopes of starting a new career.
    Some were starting over after a broken marriage or drug abuse, while recovering from drug abuse, or in hopes of starting a new career.

    2.
    Her memoir has been a New York Times best-seller for more than four years, has sold 3.5 million copies in the United States alone, has been translated into twenty-two languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount.
    Her memoir has been a New York Times best-seller for more than four years, has sold 3.5 million copies in the United States alone, been translated into twenty-two languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount.

    3.
    This protein is involved in controlling the shape of cells and movement and communication between them.
    This protein is involved in controlling the shape, movement, and communication between cells.

    4.
    The editor is responsible for revising them with an eye for proper grammar, idiomatic English, as well as structure and clarity.
    The editor is responsible for revising them with an eye for proper grammar and idiomatic English, as well as for structure and clarity.

    5.
    Oblivious to his colleagues as they shifted in their chairs, were looking at their watches, or stared out the window, he rambled on.
    Oblivious to his colleagues as they shifted in their chairs, looked at their watches, or stared out the window, he rambled on.

Answers and Explanations

1. Some were starting over after a broken marriage or drug abuse, while recovering from drug abuse, or in hopes of starting a new career.
The noun phrase "drug abuse" requires its own verb phrase; "starting over after" serves only "broken marriage" unless "drug abuse is linked to "broken marriage" with a conjunction, as shown here.

2. Her memoir has been a New York Times best-seller for more than four years, has sold 3.5 million copies in the United States alone, has been translated into twenty-two languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount.
The phrase "been translated into twenty-two languages" requires its own linking verb.

3. This protein is involved in controlling the shape of cells and movement and communication between them.
Each of the three words describing a characteristic of cells requires a preposition. To confirm this fact, read the sentence with only one characteristic (for example, "This protein is involved in controlling the shape between cells"). "Movement" and "communication" can share the preposition "between," as shown here, if they are joined by a conjunction.

4. The editor is responsible for revising them with an eye for proper grammar and idiomatic English, as well as for structure and clarity.
The phrase "as well as" cannot substitute for the simple conjunction "and"; it is used to bridge a list of two or more items with an additional related word or phrase, as shown in the revision.

5. Oblivious to his colleagues as they shifted in their chairs, looked at their watches, or stared out the window, he rambled on.
The verb forms describing the actions of the people in this sentence must be the same; the simple past tense of "look" matches the other verb forms.

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